Subject: Carry and Heather: right whale work

Dr. Cathy Schaeff (
Wed, 01 Oct 1997 14:50:44 +0000

> >From Carry and Heather: Could you explain a little more about your research?

What I really like to do is to collect behavioral data on whales and
seals and then try to see the patterns in what they do so that I can
figure out why they do it.  So, for example, the mtDNA study: mtDNA is
like a last name that comes down through the females -- all brother and
sisters from the same mom have a copy of mtDNA just like her.  By
looking at everyone's mtDNA pattern in a particular location (Bay of
Fundy) it became appearent that animals went to a summer feeding
location because their mom took them there (i.e., showed them the way)!

Hope you have fun learing about whales! Cathy
Dr. Cathy Schaeff
Biology Department 
American University
4400 Mass. Ave. N.W. 
Washington D.C. 20016-8007
(202) 885-2175 (phone)
(202) 885-2182 (fax) (email)